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Is my doctor liable if my medical procedure has a bad outcome?

February 24, 2017

A bad outcome from a medical procedure may not qualify for medical malpractice. There’s a clear line between a bad outcome and medical malpractice: known and preventable risks and negligence.

What is a Bad Outcome?

A bad outcome is when–despite even the most exceptional care and effort–a patient’s condition declines or fails to heal properly. For example, patients can get the brunt end of known risks and side effects. There’s no guarantee of a complication-free medical procedure. Individuals who experience bad outcomes cannot sue for malpractice, as the outcome is due to factors out of a physician’s control.

When is the Error Medical Malpractice?

The standard of care is questioned in medical malpractice. Doctors who provide treatment that isn’t in line with what other professionals in the field would do in a similar situation can be liable for malpractice.

For example, negligence can be defined an avoidable mistake or skipping a know, necessary step in the treatment process. Other examples include:

  • Breaking away from standard protocols
  • Failing to diagnose a condition
  • Misdiagnosing a condition
  • Interpreting a chart incorrectly
  • Prescribing the wrong course of treatment or medications

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